Just call me Elijah, waiting for a fire and almost missing the breeze.

One of my favorite things to do is get out my notebooks from over the years or blog posts after I started writing and reread them. Try to put myself in the shoes of who I was then. What I was trying to get through at that time. Some of them I remember like yesterday, the big victories. The truly inspiring moments, but others seem so minuscule and unnecessary now.

However, after a week fresh out of converge 2020 my mind has changed on how I see those otherwise minuscule moments I overlook when reading my entries.

Converge 2020 wasn’t life changing in the same ways it was last year. It wasn’t ugly crying at small group. Every. Single. Night. It wasn’t tearing my heart out and giving it to God. Honestly it wasn’t emotional until the very last night.

To nobody’s surprise one person in particular, Holly, got to all of us in her talk Thursday night. It’s as if she opened the window to the breeze for people who weren’t even aware for themselves what they were feeling subconsciously.

She talked of Elijah and how he ran. How he threw himself a pity party. And that’s a feeling I’ve have encountered wayyyy too many times in life. I’ve been there. I know why Elijah felt how he felt. Like God abandoned him. Like he was alone. He was disappointed that life didn’t turn out how he wanted it to.

So Holly had us right a statement and fill in our blank. I’m disappointed about ________. Without a second thought my blank was filled with my dad missing my wedding.

It’s something I thought I had accepted and even found alternate ways to include him still. Converge 2019 was when I faced all that mess and everything surrounding it. I was better. I am better. I’m stronger. I’m ok. I’m happy. I’m living and loving life.

Even that night at small group I was ok. I shared and moved on. But it wasn’t until “share night” that I lost it. I hadn’t planned on sharing because in my eyes my week was low-key. No new life. no big deal. However, God saw different. A few hours before programming I felt a sudden urge to write, and I knew it was downhill from there cause inevitably I’d feel God push me up to that mic in front of everyone to share.

So I wrote. And wrote. And wrote. Until I had my still seemingly unimportant story. Nevertheless I gave in to the push and I shared. Guys, I read this over and over before hand. Yet it wasn’t until I got up there to share that it hit me as I read it. To hear myself say these words…

My dad will miss my wedding. My dad won’t walk me down the aisle. My dad will miss my daddy daughter dance. And tears started flowing before I even said it cause I knew the words were coming. My heart began to race and in that moment I was so glad I wrote it out or I would’ve been lost.

My point in sharing all of this goes back to Holly. She said one thing that will stick with me forever. Elijah was looking for another fire, and God came in a gentle breeze. She said if you only look for the big moments you’ll miss him in the little moments.

The moments that seem minuscule and unimportant. The ones you over look. The ones that I brush off when reading old written entries.

That’s what I expected this spring break. Nothing life changing. Just another week enjoying the gorgeous landscape of Tennessee. I had my “big fire” last year. Last converge I was still dealing with so much. I resolved so much. Faced even more. And committed to not living my life with those shackles. I was ready to take on the world and honestly I feel I did.

I grew in my relationship with God as opposed to a religion. I started Ferris state university. I graduated high school and college with a degree. I got engaged. My year was actually easy and enjoyable. For the first time since my dad died it was the truth. For the first time I truly felt changed unlike I always thought I had but never actually changed anything.

I came in to find more tools to take with me into marriage. To a fiancé who is new to his faith. To a new journey in my own faith. The things I conquered last year still have their place in me. They always will. But the difference is they don’t control me anymore.

One statement. One night. Not a week of growth. Not even a conversation. One simple statement was all it took to change my week. To realize that God is there to make me resilient when valleys come again.

My life is no longer dwelling on what I can’t change in the past only what I can do in the future and that’s what last week showed me. And if it wasn’t for that one statement I would’ve missed my gentle breeze breeze moment just like Elijah almost did.

Sometimes God makes big moves in life. There clear as day. But sometimes God just wants to remind you he’s there without stirring things up to much,and it’s clear as mud. He doesn’t always bring a fire that strikes a soaked alter. It could be the driving by a mountain, the sunset, or a very photogenic fish (just a few of my favorites from my trip).

Just remember. He sees the big picture. And all the moments matter. Big or small. In the words of a wise man who also went on converge…

“You see in years, he sees in generations”- Eric Tworek

20 in Tennessee

Today is my last day as a teenager. Tomorrow I turn 20 and for some reason when I woke up this morning my life “flashed before my eyes” for lack of better words. Not in a way that I’m lying on my death bed, but instead to see how far I’ve come in 20 years on this earth. The growth and the strength, the tears and laughs.

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I posted 2 years ago today that “you should be here” by Cole Swindell was playing and on the eve of my 18th birthday it really hit me hard that my dad wasn’t gonna be here to celebrate with me. Reading the post I felt the same emotions I did two years ago…

Even in just the 2 years since that post I’ve changed so much. Done with high school, half done with college with a degree, found someone to spend the rest of my life with.

The more life goes on and moves on the memories of my dad get more and more distant. To find pictures that I feel should be recent are now 8 years old. I’m no longer the pre-teen where my only worry was if I got to hunt that weekend. Now I’m an adult working through school, gaining experience in my career field, and engaged ready to start a life with my best friend. Each of these milestones has been bittersweet…because they all have one thing in common…he’s not here to see it…

I do know I couldn’t do it without my support team that’s there for every one of these moments. And no matter what God always finds a way to remind me my dad is there in that moment, in my heart, sharing every moment with me still.

My 19th year was actually one of the easier ones since I lost my dad, and I honestly feel an easier road ahead for my 20’s. There will be getting married to my best friend, finding a place to start our life together, finishing school and graduating with 3 degrees, getting a job, buying a house, having kids…so much to happen in the next 10 years that I can’t wait for.

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My 20th birthday will be spent on the mountains of Tennessee, with 53 others who love the Lord and never fail to lift my up. Even if it’s a tough pill to swallow that I’ll no longer be a teen and that again my dad will miss it, it’s just another thing on the list that he has and will miss in my life.

The next 10 years of my life will easily be the years that make my life what it is. Marriage, graduate school, house, career, kids. Converge (spring break with the church like now) a year ago changed my life in more than one way. I came out a new person. The things I had been fighting since my dad died were resolved, I confronted my pain, I decided it wasn’t how I was going to live my life anymore. I see now as I look back on the last year God has prepared me to walk into my 20’s with a better mindset, less pain, and ready to create a life with someone else. In a way it feels I’m leaving my childhood pain and suffering behind, and getting ready to start a new stage of my life.

It’s been a long road to get me to where I am now. The last 10 years of my life have been a roller coaster. But one thing has remained constant and that is my God. There through the good, there through the bad, and even the times that I pushed him away.

This birthday will be one for the books as I’m lucky enough to spend it in gorgeous Tennessee, but it also is the start of what I expect to be the best 10 years of my life.

Lean on your support system, Lean on God. This may be your time of heartache or God preparing you for your new chapter. Don’t take a single moment for granted, because the clock doesn’t stop for anyone.

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Just breathe…

For probably about 10ish years now I’ve had a tote that hold all of my “important” childhood keepsakes. Such as the blanket I carried around so much it’s just pieces crocheted back together or photo albums or my very first cast from when I was two. Going through the paper portion of my keepsakes I found a letter that I had written junior year to my senior self.

I was curious to see if anything still holds up so I took it out and read it. I began reading and almost immediately not a single thing is the same. Only one constant remains and that’s my boyfriend. Everything else has changed immensely since then.

I had written that senior year I’d wanna have a good start on college classes and continue pursuing a degree in wildlife and fisheries biology. My long term goals were to go to and graduate from Lake Superior state, work with the DNR, and create a life with my boyfriend.

Since then I went above and beyond even what I thought I was capable of as far as schooling. I graduated high school with over a 3.5 gpa, my MEMCA certificate, and an associates from Delta. And now I’ve transferred to Ferris and in this week I can officially say I completed my first semester as a bulldog.

Not only did my schooling plan change, for the better even, but my career path. I have now worked for a construction company for over a year and love it and just had an interview for a summer internship which I never expected.

Then there’s my boyfriend Eric. He’s been by my side through all of it. All of my crazy ideas and dreams. Supporting me through it all whichever road I take and how I get there.

The thing is in the here and now, especially being exam week, my life has been chaos for the last 16 weeks juggling school, work, 4 hunting seasons, fall salmon run, and a boyfriend. Sometimes I forget to step back and remember the reason I’m doing all of it.

It’s to give myself a life I can enjoy. That I can grow a family and continue the traditions and legacies my family and family friends have given me. That I can just stand still one day and be proud. That I can walk through those golden gates knowing I lived my best life and have no regrets. That I can sit back and just breathe.

After I graduate college, begin a successful career, buy a house, start a family one day I will be able to look back and see how days like these all came together to create an amazing life.

My life sure has changed even since I wrote this letter to myself junior year. Some things I wish I could change and others I wouldn’t change for the world. But I know no matter what I’m leading a life to be proud of.

As this Friday approaches, December 13th, it will be the 7th anniversary of my dads unexpected death. It will also be the official end of my first semester at Ferris during my first semester of my construction management program.

With all that I’ve listed that has happened I wish my dad was here to see every single second of it. Every. Single. One. But on the same day my dad died 7 years later I’m there. And by there I mean living a life I love. Living a life I’m proud of. Living my best life and one my dad is proud of. My heart aches even just thinking about what he’s missed and will miss. But that feeling soon turns to more fire within me. To drive me.

In 7 years it hasn’t gotten easier by any means. You just learn to continue on with life. Live a life you know they’d want you to. It’s ok to miss them. I lost 7 very important people in my life in the span of 7 years. I miss every. Single. One. Everyday.

I have home videos on my phone just so I can hear my dads voice when I need it. I have to listen to heartlands song “I loved her first” on replay some days. Sometimes they make me cry. Sometimes they make me laugh. But at the end of it all I take a deep breath. Look up to the sky and know that I’m there and they’re all in my heart with me everyday.

When it all seems too much and overwhelming. Take a deep breath. And remember the reason behind what you’re doing. It’s all part of a bigger plan. Whether it be a career change, school, or just another day at work. It shapes you into you. Just remember in the now may seem chaotic and impossible to get through one day you’ll look back and it’ll all come together. One day you’ll be able to sit back, take a deep breath, and simply take in the life you’ve created. Whether that be in 2 hours, 2 weeks, or two years. There’s something to be said about what you’ve accomplished up to this point.

There will be good times and bad times. But the bad times never stay forever and the good times always follow.

I am worth more than birds

Fall is a crazy time of year for most people I think. School starts, Halloween festivities, prepping for winter, enjoying the last of the semi warm days, maybe thinking about starting to Christmas shop or shopping already…and that for the average individual. Then for me I’ve got duck/goose hunting, deer hunting, salmon fishing, trying to keep up with homework, getting a schedule for next semester, apply for scholarships, etc.

Sure it gets overwhelming sometimes. A lot of the time for me if I’m being honest. Especially this time of year. It just gets crazy until January 1st. Some days I love it because I’m creating memories and making something of myself. Other days my mind takes over and I drive myself crazy thinking about everything that could happen or not happen or the what-ifs.

I like my life to fit inside a box with no unknowns I like to be in control and keep it that way as much as possible. The last few years I’ve realized that’s not logical and 7/10 it’s not going to work that way or exactly how I pictured. Sometimes classes don’t transfer, sometimes I can only work 12 hours a week for 16 weeks, sometimes i can’t hunt much, sometimes I don’t see friends for months, sometimes I just get stressed out. I wonder how I’m going to make it through that week or month.

Then I go to bed and reach over to turn my light off and see my gratitude box that I have a card for every week this year and what good has happened that week. Or I see something on facebook that some body else is going through ans realize I’ve got it easy, it could be so much worse.

I’ve had low spots but I’m not there anymore, I’m living my best life right now. Sure some days are hard, some weeks are hard even but nothing compares to what I have and what I’m experiencing.

Today was one of those days that it all hit me like it was all or nothing and I had to decide the next 5 years of my life before tomorrow. For hours I ran myself in the same circle I always do, playing worse case scenario. So I reached out to a friend I haven’t seen a long time and miss to death. We didn’t even talk except to try and schedule a day to talk. With us both being in college it proves to be pretty hard. It set me at ease. Then I texted my boyfriend along the same lines, need to get out of my head. Just like that, without even talking about what was going through my head, it’s like God calmed the storm within me.

At church a couple Sundays ago the sermon was about stress and how to deal with it and give it to God. That God will carry me through my stress because he takes care of the birds and I think it’s safe to say he values me over the birds. That’s all I thought about the rest of the day. That I have to remember God has a plan, he will take care of me, and that I don’t have to stress about this stuff. It’s all taken care of already, there’s no sense in me getting worked up…easier said than done. Every week I try though with those gratitude notes, to focus on the good, and focus on the present.

It’s so hard to fathom how much God really holds in his hand. That we don’t have to stress or worry about anything. He will take care of you. He will carry you through. He will not fail you.

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“In the (fall) wind he’s still alive”

Fall is the brisk, cool air. It’s the oranges, reds, yellows, and maroons in the trees. It’s the apple cider and trips to the pumpkin patch. It was also my dads favorite time of the year…

Every year this time of the year I can’t help but feel my Dad all around. As soon as that first cold spell hits or the first leaf turns.

Last weekend a couple friends, my boyfriend, and I went salmon fishing and finally after hours of not catching anything in the last few years I hooked into and landed one. The first salmon from tie-up to landing all by myself. I’ve caught salmon before but it usually included my dad or uncle hooking it and handing over the pole. This time it was all me. And I couldn’t help but feel a whole new excitement and accomplishment. Sure it’s just a fish, but I felt my dad smiling down and all the memories we shared salmon/steelhead fishing came flooding in.

Yesterday was opening day of bow season. Another one of my dads favorites. And for the first time in idk how long I skipped it. Mainly for one reason. I hadn’t practiced shooting enough and wasn’t dialed in enough to be comfortable shooting at a deer. Life got in the way to be honest. And after school started it got even busier really fast.

So we’re on the second day of season and I still haven’t hunted. But I’ve been shooting every night and getting dialed in. Hoping to go out the end of this week and this weekend. As interesting as this sounds it’s part of a bigger picture.

Every time I’ve pulled back my bow this week I can hear my dad. Telling me pointers. Helping me become a better shot. Things like “squeeze the release trigger”, “put your bowstring right on the end of your nose in the middle”, “get your anchor point every time”(I don’t have a kisser button), “shoot as you breath out”. Just a few that he used to say over and over when we shot together all summer long. It’s like I should turn around and see him. Shooting was one of our “things”. Getting ready to hunt was one of our “things”. It’s what he lived for. Not only to hunt but to pass on the traditions and the legacy.

It’ll be 7 years this year. And yes every year fall still puts me on a high in the same way it used to when he was still here to share it with me. The day hunting season starts I have stories that last for days. I love fall for many reasons. The color, the cool air, hunting season, cozy blankets, flannels, sweatshirts, apple cider, etc. but I love fall the most because that’s when I’m the most connected to my Dad.

Now a days my fall or hunting season starts September 1st with early goose and duck season during deer season. But with these it’s different. My dad and I never goose or duck hunted. It’s a new season I’ve taken on with my boyfriend. Nonetheless I can feel my dad right beside me. God never ceases to remind me. Just when I need it most. Even if he’s not there to share the new memories with me I’ve got some pretty amazing people that have all contributed to continue making the best memories in the woods. Whether it be with my boyfriend shooting my first duck or goose or catching my first salmon on my own. Or sitting all day with my grandpa and shooting my first deer with a rifle. Or Jason my first deer with a bow. Or my Uncle Ryan the night before my dads viewing shooting my very. First. Deer. God gave me the best dad/hunting partner/ teacher. But he also gave me so many people that made sure the that legacy is still carried on.

When I sit in my tree stand I think over our memories and the ones I’ve had since then. Wondering what it’d be like if he was still here. I become overwhelmed with memories and often times emotions. I tend to get very emotional because I do feel my dad a lot in the fall. Hunting or fishing was when some of our best memories were made. It brought out the best in us.

Fall is my favorite season because “in the (fall) wind he’s still alive”.

Not enough minutes in a day…

For the last few months I’ve been telling myself to get back to writing. I wrote my way through my struggles and then fizzled out when I “got better”. Yet, my journey since then, who I’ve become is all just as important as what put me here. I miss it for sure, but it slips my mind and life is busy. Time to catch up quick.

Since I last wrote so much has happened. A few big milestones have come and gone. I officially graduated high school and got my associates (even before my high school diploma). I changed careers, schools, classes, the whole 9 yards. I know am attending Ferris State University and plan to graduate in two years, provided all goes smooth, with my bachelors in Construction Management. I also had to make the decision to put my first “baby”, Ivy, down. At only 10 months old I found she had kidney failure and it was the hardest decision my boyfriend and I have ever had to make.

Now I’ve been taking classes at Ferris for 4 weeks now. I drive 3 hours round trip, four days a week, for the next 12 weeks. Yes, it’s as much as it seems. Leaving me with a whole day Tuesday, half a day Thursday, and the occasional Friday to work. In less than a month my boyfriend and I will have been dating 3 years already, time sure does fly!! That’s pretty much it, the overly simplified version anyway.

As you can see I don’t have much time considering homework time and home and such too. Not to mention trying to not abandon family, especially those getting up there in age. So little time and so much to do. Now I know what my dad used to always say you can sleep when your dead, there’s too much to do before we die.

I want to restart my blog, there’s so much more to say and share with the world. It’s not just about the tragedy, it’s how it changes you, for the better or worse. Even what seems like chaos right now. there’s two things I remember. The first is God has got this. That he is there. That he already has a plan and it’ll stand no matter what you do. No matter how lost you feel in the hustle and bustle of life, he’s got your back. I’m not gonna lie that’s the hardest part for me. Not micromanaging my life. Letting go, sitting back, and let God take over. Second, that even in the busiest days of your life always make time to see your friends and family. Even if it’s just for a second. Shoot a quick text on your way to class, call your grandma on your way home from work. All it takes is a few minutes. Ya never know how long you’ve got. Don’t get so busy creating a future that you lose your present.

The next two years of my life will be nothing short of chaos. Between school, work, moving out, long-term relationship upkeep, family, friends, etc. but at the end of the day I know I’m making me a better me. There will be times it’ll get overwhelming, I’ll want to quit. Then a little voice in my head will tell me to keep going, remind me of what I’ve risen from and where I can go. Nothing is too big, too busy, or too crazy for my God. I’ve come too far and gained too much. It took everything in me to escape the deep hole I dug myself into a few years back, and for the last 4-ish years I’ve been filling that hole back in. I’m not saying times wont get hard again, that is like the definition of life but I will push on. The chaos I’ve been experiencing the last year or two and even now is me making something of myself. Not just the girl who’s dad died when she was young.

I’ll try to make it through without my head completely spinning off. I’ll try to find my limits and not go over them. But I do know one thing, when everything is overwhelming, when I wanna give up. I can take a break because God has it. Right now it doesn’t seem like there’s enough minutes in the day for everything, we just need to realize we need to make everyone count and to not take one for granted. Life gets busy just remember the important stuff, smell the roses and it’s the little things that’ll matter in the end. It’s not the degrees, the promotions, the money, the job, the success. It’s the family, the friendships, the memories, the sunsets, the sunrises, the meaningful stuff. Like this picture:)DSC_0070 (1)

A diamond in progress…

I am part of a 5th-year program, which is an extended year of high school where my school pays for another year of college. Typically, in this program students land between 30 and 50 credits. I decided I didn’t want to stress myself out of overload so I took the alternate route in which we needed 100+ hours of volunteer, career exploration, or job shadowing. Then I’d graduate with a MEMCA certificate.

I was fine with the MEMCA certificate as it still showed a big accomplishment. I didn’t have to shoot for an associates degree. However, after deciding on Construction Mangement I found I could receive college credit for taking building trades and welding.

I went to my teacher and got the papers signed. With those magic papers, it’d add 16 credits to my pile. I knew it’d be close but these new credits might put me over an Associates. I talked to an advisor at Delta, he looked it all over and added credits. As long as I pass all my classes I will have enough credits. However, I needed a political science to meet the rest of the criteria for Delta’s General Education Associates. That class fit perfect and I am on now track to obtain an Associates.

Now after all that…Today was the first day I have felt proud of myself. Like today is proof that I’m doing something right and making something of myself. I am a whole semester and a half away from a degree yet I feel like I already have it. Today I felt my dad’s proud smile. Today to me means that I pushed through the tears and sorrow, and am finally seeing results of not giving up. I didn’t let it stop me. I was fearful and scared, but today I feel fearless and invincible.

God has changed something in me. I’m honestly not even sure what it is yet. All I know is I finally feel like I’m doing something right like I’m going to make something of myself.  I know that I am capable of more than I even thought.

I’ve always done very well in school and to take college classes in high school was nothing out of the ordinary. But, today when an associates degree became a reality I felt extra. It wasn’t just expected of me like good grades. I will be graduting high school with my high school diploma, MEMCA certificate, Michigan transfer agreement, and an Associates.

Image result for diamonds quotes     I would like to know who else has done that. If anyone. I worked hard to get here. No, I wasn’t valedictorian, salutatorian, or even in the top 10% of my grade, but yet I feel more accomplished. I have good grades/GPA in high school and have made the dean’s and vice presidents list for Delta. Then to add this list of diplomas/certificates I’ll get with just simply graduating high school…I feel on top of the world.

Ever since my dad died I’ve been striving to make him proud and today I feel like I finally did it. I know this isn’t the first time making my dad or any of my family proud, but it’s the first time I truly feel it deep in me. I never felt I’d be able to take that many classes in order to get an associates degree. I never thought I was good enough they said I’d need 60+ credits and I never saw myself being able. God carried me through.

I was beyond broken. Six years ago my life was nothing short of a mess and this is a Image result for diamonds quotesglimpse that the mess is a stepping stone to success. I cried and cried over my dad, my aunts, my grandpas/mas. Life won, but God is making a diamond out of me. All the pressures of life are making a diamond out of me. He found me in a pile of ashes and in him I am shining and succeeding.

He’s making diamonds out of all of us. Every failure and loss make us a little stronger, just like a diamond the strongest material in all the world. With refining and pressure, you’ll get there. Days like today with me will remind you it will all come together eventually and you’ll realize you’re doing something right. Keep your faith you’re doing great.

 

 

 

“My fear doesn’t stand a chance”

Since freshman year of high school, I had decided exactly what I wanted to do with my life. From which college I wanted to attend to what career I wanted. I decided on Wildlife and Fisheries biology and wanted to go to LSSU to get my bachelors degree. I then planned on getting into the DNR as one of their biologists.

That was until about 3 months ago…On my umpteenth hour, I had spent weeding for my job my mind started to wander. I was missing building trades and had been thinking about it a lot around that time.

The thought never crossed my mind before to change degree options, like I said since freshman year I knew what I wanted and just how to get it. Yet in 11th grade, a girl, who had previously graduated from my school, was going through the Ferris State University construction degree program. She came in and talked to us about not writing the trades off as a career.

I thought it was cool but was sticking to my guns. Then after 3 years of welding and starting building trades, I found a love for the trades and found I’m actually pretty decent with some help and guidance. I began thinking I could actually do this, but soon shot myself down because I had a plan already. I was afraid to stray from it.

Yet, on that hot, sunny day when all I had to do was pull weeds, I had myself almost completely talked into it. I looked at it this way. More job opportunity to put a degree, I pay lots of money for, to work. The job market is astronomically different between the two and I couldn’t help but to at least check into it.

By that night I had talked to my trades/welding teacher, my mom, my grandma, my boyfriend, and lastly my dad. The idea was becoming more and more doable in my mind. I talked to that same girl that came in during 11th grade and set it in stone. No questions asked I wanted to do it.

That week I talked to my counselor and got classes readjusted to follow a construction management degree. I contacted Ferris academics center and advising. I jumped in feet first. I was throwing every single plan I had laid out in the trash, yet, I wasn’t a bit afraid.

Ever since then it’s all I can think about and my fears are gone. I know I can get a job with a degree I already love and have experience in. I went from years of planning to throw it away within a day. I knew it was the right move for me because of the fact that I had no idea how I was going to do anything and I was ok and knew I’d figure it out. All I did before was worry about not being about to get a biology-related job with it being a specialized and small field.

IMG_0531I left it to God. I honestly believe this is what I’m supposed to do with my life. I can be an inspiration to women to go into a trade. I can potentially pursue my dream of having my own business one day. It’s in my blood something I’m familiar with. There’s more job opportunity, especially right now, and opportunity to stay closer to family and friends. I jumped in feet first for one reason and one reason only…God will guide me I don’t have to be afraid of what I want.

Biology obviously wasn’t for me and he let me know. Up to this point he has made everything work out just right to where I don’t question a thing. I have practically no plans compared to before and I feel more at peace now.

We get so caught up in planning for the future we forget to see what’s right in front of us, I had no idea I’d end up here just by taking building trades senior year. I was overplanned honestly and God hit the brakes. There’s a bigger plan we can’t see and it drives the planner side of me crazy. But times like these makes me see why it is this way. Who knows maybe this is how I carry out part of my dad’s legacy. Maybe my business will be a Christan based company who helps kids get into the trades. Maybe this will be another way I tell my story and inspire others. Maybe just maybe this is what I was put here for, my purpose.

I now tell people I will be attending Ferris State University a year from now to pursue a degree in Construction Management and that’s where it ends. The rest is up to God. My fear doesn’t stand a chance against my God. He will take care of me.

This is a newer song I just heard today and it really hit home for me with everything that’s been going on with my career change the last few months. Really listen to the lyrics. God wants to help you too. He’s just waiting for you to let him in…

From the ashes I have risen

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12 years of accomplishments all rolled into a single night of celebration. The ending of my grade school career and the beginning of creating a life of my own. For most people, it was full of relief and smiles as we were finally done. The tassel was moved from one side to the other and diplomas were received. It was finally over…

I had the same thoughts, but the week leading up to the ceremony I couldn’t help but wish my dad was there to see it all unfold. It was tough. Yet, I was determined to not let it ruin the happiness surrounding such a milestone. Throughout the ceremony, I was good, not a single tear, and thankfully no tripping as I was wearing heels and am extremely clumsy lol

I thought I had it in the bag, no issue. Then came the part where we could go give the roses we bought to the people who were there for us and encourage us the most. I went to my grandma Eva gave hers to her. From there I went to my second family, my boyfriend’s mom and stepmom. Then to my mom and Grandma Peen. Got my hugs and congratulations in from everyone and headed back to my seat.

Then all at once, the song “My Wish” by Rascal Flatts came on and it just hit me that I was still missing one hug. Tears started flowing instantaneously. As I tried not to fall down the stairs and make things worse I looked up as I got off them and looked my grandma in the eye. She was already a little teary-eyed from being the proudest great-grandma there. So when she saw me crying it didn’t take much for her to join me.

Since I was already in route I went over to her. She asked “what’s wrong” and I just sobbed one word…Dad. It all had built up to that point. My first big milestone without him. The first event where all the family is there and he isn’t there to watch…

I miss him so much and every day, but I’ve tried to find the balance of carrying his legacy on and creating my own. We do so many of the same things have the same mentality, it isn’t too hard most days, but that day was hard. I knew I couldn’t let it ruin my “big day” yet when I miss him I miss him. I cried a little and continued to enjoy the excitement of graduation.

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This picture to me represents everything I’ve been through in the last almost 6 years. The smiles, the tears, the memories. It says to me that I am standing there strong even with tears in my eyes. That I made it this far and have come a long way. It all seemed impossible when my dad died. Yet, I beat the impossible.

This red, blotchy, teary-eyed face is a face of strength. I have withstood some of the worst years of my life. I’m proud of who I am today.

I always wish I could go back just one more time. Just hear his goofy laugh one more time. To feel my grandpa Don’s hug one more time. To see my grandma Rhonda’s face light up when she saw us. But yet, even knowing what I know now I wouldn’t change a thing. I went through a lot of pain and heartache, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. Without it, I wouldn’t have found my strength.

It took a while but my life is on a great road right now. I made the choice to conquer and with God by my side and my dad’s hand on my shoulder I did that. I rose from the ashes. I stood strong in that gymnasium on June 1st at 7:00pm ready to face an accomplishment, my dad didn’t live to see, without him.

I cried yeah. Was it hard heck yeah. But that didn’t put a damper on the fact that I graduated. I didn’t let it anyway. I have risen from the ashes of my tragedies, but my journey is far from over. God’s not done with me yet. I can’t wait to see where he takes me.ashes2.jpg

 

 

“I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always. As long as I’m living my baby you’ll be”- Robert Munsch

Image result for parents quotes  Now I’m not a parent and not even close to being one. However, I do have them. As someone who just turned 18 within the last couple months many of my friend’s parents, along with mine, are finding the happy medium of involvement still while beginning the letting go process.

My parents were young when they had me. My mom was 18 and my dad was 20. Even if they were grown adults I’ve always seen it as I grew up with them. I got to enjoy my parents in their prime.

Getting married right outta school and beginning their family I’d imagine there were tough times. I remember one time my mom telling me she wanted to prepare us girls for life so that if we chose to take the same route she did we would be ok. My mom and dad raised me to be very independent and self-sufficient.

For as long as I can remember I was told if I wanted something I had to save up and buy it. It wasn’t ever just handed to me. Nothing in life is free and if you want something you have to work for it. My parents taught me that at a young age. I hated it at the time because my friend’s parents didn’t do that, but having my own bills for the past two years I am so thankful my parents made me use my own money. Now I can manage my money.

It was more than just money though. As soon as we could make a sandwich it was our responsibility to make our lunches for school. If we forgot homework at home mom didn’t bail us out and bring it in. Like I said before I hated it at the time but all of this made me more prepared for this exact time in my life.

Most parents I know are getting ready to send their kid to college as one big push. My parents are too, but, the difference is my mom has been removing herself from certain aspects of my life and allowing me to make my own decisions for about two years now. It’s not all at once, it’s more gradual and allows for me to easily regain my footing if I make a mistake.

I always tell everyone that my first summer job I worked at a campground and my main work schedule was weekends and holidays. Which was also the time my family went to the U.P. all summer. My mom knew she could leave me home alone for the weekend and they did just that. It stunk cause I couldn’t go but I had a bigger responsibility. My mom didn’t make a big deal about it just said keep us in the loop and have a fun weekend working.

As I watch other kids parents they are having a really hard time letting go. It’s senior year, they’re getting ready to go to college, and parents think it’s the last time they’ll see them. Sure my mom is gonna miss me, but she knows she has done her part and has to trust all her and my dad taught me will carry me through. There isn’t  a scene when I choose to go with my boyfriend and his family for a weekend instead of my family. She gets that I’m building my own life and that she has to let go. It makes it a lot easier for me.

More independence is great cause you don’t feel like you can’t breathe, you’re more prepared for being on your own. Yet, through school, you’re the kid that can’t go to the movies with your friends because your insurance is due and you don’t have any extra money. On the flip side, someone who is waited on hand and foot has the money to go wherever whenever, but won’t know how to handle themselves, by themselves when the time comes.

There are pros and cons to both sides and the fact is neither one is superior to the other. It’s all a matter of what the parents think is best. My mom may seem heartless because she chose to raise me this way; because she chose not to make me a sandwich when I was very capable. I don’t see it like that at all, I saw her and my dad loving me so much that when it got to be time for me to graduate and go to college I was ready and prepared as much as I could be.

Eventually, parents have to let go, let their kids fly, and see where they go. Some will succeed and some will fail. It’s life; it’s not going to give in, it’s not gonna back away on a bad day, and it sure isn’t going to let you coast through without a little work. Anything in life requires hard work and money. I was fortunate enough to have parents that taught me that at a very young age and I believe I benefit from it now.

My mom isn’t the one breathing down my neck during my senior year because she is gonna be “broken to pieces to see me go”. She is gonna be the one standing proud because of all I’ve accomplished up to this point and I hope she feels secure in how she raised me. Her and my dad did a pretty good job if I do say so my self. I’m not scared of the world or what it holds. I know it can stab me in the back, break my heart, and take everything away, but no matter what I will not give up.

With all my rambling it comes to this, speaking on behalf of most kids my age…Parents give a little leeway. It’s ok to step back and watch us fail no matter how hard. I go against my mom’s advice a lot and wish I didn’t but it was for me to figure out and I’d never know unless I tried. If they’re 17-19 let them go. It’s not like they’ll go off to college and you’ll never see them again. They’ll always be your little boy/girl. You have to trust us and trust that you’ve prepped us in the best possible way to survive in this scary world. We’ll make mistakes, we’ll fail at things, we’ll face countless things. It’s life and it’s ours to figure out.

And kids realize your parents have dedicated years upon years, however old you are, to you. From the time your mom found out she was gonna have you and after your dad found out you have been a whole new part of their world. Your mom carried you for 9 months I think she deserves some time to be sappy and sad that her baby is all grown up. Cut them some slack and reassure them everything will be ok. So take that picture with them, ride into town, give them what they want because pretty soon you will be on your own and when you run out of toilet paper in the bathroom they won’t be there to bring you a roll haha. You’ll miss them just as they will miss you.

Mom- I don’t say it enough but thank you. Thank you for making me make my lunch and making me wake up by myself for school. Thank you for making me use my own money to buy stuff and not letting me spend it on useless things. Thank you for putting up with my tantrums because I thought none of this was fair when other kids didn’t have to do it or got to do it. IMG_4028I see now that you and dad were only helping me in ways you guys may have struggled at first. I am ready to face this world because of you and dad. You guys taught me things I would’ve never learned in school. There are too many times I criticize you for doing these things and make you think you’re a horrible parent. You’re not even the slightest bit, because when I look at my classmates around me at graduation I know I will be one who will succeed.